HRC Presents Heroism Award to Lynne Tracy

Secretary Clinton will recognize FSO, Lynne Tracy with the Award for Heroism at the Department of State today. Ms. Tracy recently completed a three-year tour as Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. On August 26, 2008 gunmen ambushed her vehicle, riddling the car with bullets. Despite this, she remained in Peshawar for another year after the attack and continued to pursue U.S. policy at this critical post.

The Award for Heroism reads: “In recognition of your brave service as Principal Officer in Peshawar, Pakistan from September 2006 to August 2009. Despite a violent kidnapping attempt and threats against your life, you remained at this critical post to complete your mission with steadfast courage and gallant leadership.”

Lynne Tracy served as Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan from September, 2006 to August, 2009. Since joining the State Department in 1994, Ms. Tracy’s overseas assignments have been concentrated in Central and South Asia, with postings in Astana as Principal Officer (2004 -2006), Kabul (2002-2003), Bishkek (1997-2000) and an earlier tour in Peshawar (1995-1997). Her Washington assignments include Kazakhstan Desk Officer (2003-2004), Georgia Desk Officer (2001-2002) and the Office of the Special Ambassador to the Newly Independent States (2000-2001). She is a recipient of several Superior Honor Awards.

Ms. Tracy was born in Barberton, Ohio. She received a B.A. in Soviet Studies from the University of Georgia in 1986, and a law degree in 1994 from the University of Akron. After language training, she expects to take up her new position as Deputy Chief of Mission in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in 2010.

The transcript of the ceremony is here. Video below:

Quote: The Neglected Art of Diplomacy

American DiplomacyImage by The Falafel via Flickr

“An generation of American leaders has been brought up with a kind of Manicheanism: to some, bombs are the necessary catalysts to negotiation; to others, bombs are just evil. To only just a few traditionalists, it seems, dropping bombs represents a diplomatic failure, however necessary it may be as a last resort.

Such reductionism in foreign policy thinking is compounded by the periodic rivalries between the State and Defense Departments (and the White House), and the widespread but bizarre perception that negotiations (and “diplomacy” itself) are the weapons of the weak. Obama has rightly ridiculed the perception. But he will need to show some results for his critique to take hold. He won’t get those results if his diplomacy continues to be as tentative and under-managed as it has been to date.”

Kenneth Weisbrode

History News Network: The Neglected Art of Diplomacy
December 7, 2009

Mr. Weisbrode is the author of The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America’s Vital Alliance with Europe (Da Capo, Nov. 2009)

Book description (from Borders): Historian Kenneth Weisbrode reveals for the first time, warts and all the insider’s story of such well-known figures as Dean Acheson, W. Averell Harriman, and Henry Kissinger. It is the story of how and why the State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs (EUR)the “mother bureau” as it was called, the nerve center of the Atlanticists rose to become the U.S. government’s preeminent foreign policy office.

HRC Hosts "Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays”

Screen capture from video

Today at 6:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton will host the “Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays” event honoring the families of the US government employees serving unaccompanied tours. The event will be held in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department that have recently been decorated for the holidays.

The State Department says that nearly 1,000 State Department employees are currently serving unaccompanied tours overseas; in places too dangerous to bring family or host visitors, and their commitment through the holidays is a testament to their dedication and devotion to serving our country.

Updated: 12/8
Screen capture of event added above. The transcript of the Secretary’s remarks is here. The video of the event is currently not available for embedding, but can be viewed here. The video is 19:58 long, with an introduction by Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, remarks by the event partner, Nina Link, and by Rosalila Mastriano, an EFM of a DS employee currently posted in Baghdad. Secretary Clinton’s remarks starts at 13:30.

Former SecState Powell’s Portrait Unveiling Ceremony

Colin Powell's signature.Image via Wikipedia

Secretary Clinton will host the Portrait Unveiling Ceremony and Reception in honor of Colin L. Powell, Former Secretary of State at 11 a.m. today, in the Ben Franklin Room at the Department of State.

We’ll be in a lookout for photos.

We found the video of the unveiling ceremony below. The transcript of the ceremony is here, including remarks by both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Powell.

Quickie: Avoiding Elections at Any Cost in Iraq

VOTE(d)Image by ashley.adcox via Flickr

Rachel Schneller
, a Foreign Service officer with the State Department and Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow for 2009-2010 writes in the CFR that the derailing of the Iraqi election law may not be as bad as it sounds (Avoiding Elections at Any Cost in Iraq | CFR | December 3, 2009). Ms. Schneller was also the William R. Rivkin Awardee for 2008, AFSA’s Constructive Dissent Award for a mid-level officer (FS 3-FS 1).Quick excerpts below:

Elections should not be used as benchmarks of progress in fragile countries like Iraq, when they can just as easily signal periods of increased instability. After the December 2005 parliamentary elections, Iraq remained volatile and the lengthy formation of a new government led to an explosion of unchecked sectarian violence. There is every likelihood that 2010 elections will also result in a slow government formation process, leaving a protracted period of time when no one in the Iraqi government will be making decisions on security or reconstruction, or be able to take on the mammoth tasks of revising Iraq’s constitution and oil laws. These issues are much more important for Iraq’s long-term stability than whether elections are held on time in 2010.
The United States would do well to back away from the policy of elections at any cost. Elections in Iraq do not signify stability. In Iraq, the sequence of events is more important than the chronology of them. That is, the order of constitutional reform, oil law reform, and election law reform is more important than ensuring they occur according to schedule. In this light, the current delays on Iraq’s election law are a good sign, because it appears Iraq’s Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds are seriously trying to work out a power-sharing arrangement acceptable to all.
The sectarian violence that consumed Iraq in 2006 and 2007 was not a result of insufficient numbers of U.S. troops, but the result of underlying sectarian tensions and the lack of a capable Iraqi government following the December 2005 elections. This does not mean the United States should not reduce its military presence in Iraq; it should do so when and how its interests are best suited. But if the United States pushes for elections simply to check a box and satisfy U.S. criteria for a military drawdown, the election result will not be worth the paper it takes to print the ballots.

Read the whole thing here.

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Amb. Crocker Named Dean of TAMU’s Bush School of Govt

Ryan C. Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. ...Image via Wikipedia

Former US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker who retired from the Foreign Service earlier this year was recently named Dean of Texas A&M University’s George H. Bush School of Government and Public Service.

The Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Ambassador Crocker effective January 25, 2010. The school’s announcement said that Ambassador Crocker was selected for the post following an extensive national search. Interim Provost Karan L. Watson cited Crocker’s executive experience and almost four decades of service to the nation as key reasons for his selection. “Ambassador Crocker’s distinguished career as a Foreign Service officer and his strong managerial and communication skills will serve him well as he leads the Bush School in its next stage of development,” said Watson.

In his new role, Ambassador will build on the Bush School’s strong programs in public service and international affairs that developed under the leadership of Richard A. Chilcoat, who served as the Bush School’s first permanent dean from July 2001 through December 2008.

Crocker received a B.A. in English and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Whitman College (Washington). He also pursued graduate studies in public policy as a Mid-Career Fellow at Princeton University.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, and the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. He also holds the State Department Distinguished Honor Award, Award for Valor, three Superior Honor Awards, the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award, and the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for “exceptional courage and leadership” in Afghanistan. In 2004, President George W. Bush conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service.

In January 2009, Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award. In May 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the establishment of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Expeditionary Diplomacy.”

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See TAMU’s News: Ambassador Crocker Named Dean of TAMU’s Bush School